Works For Me: BACKWARDS Edition

Today is another BACKWARDS edition of Works-For-Me Wednesday, in which you present a dilemma to your readers and get their best ideas.

So, here’s the deal.  I own a portfolio of collateralized debt obligations, delta-hedged, using the ABX index.  Since volatility has increased in the last year, the portfolio has under-performed, due to the negative convexity of the bonds.  How would you remedy this situation, and what underlying risks do you see in this financial strategy?

Oh, y’all.  I am SO kidding.  That was the question Hubs suggested.

Mine?  Is about socks.

Guess which one of us scored higher on the SAT?

Anyhoo, back to the socks.  After just a handful of washings, ours always end up gray.  I have tried bleaching–even soaking in bleach–and I can never get them all pearly white again.  Is there some trick I’m missing?  Is there something else you can wash dingy socks in to make them all pretty?

Give me your best go at sock advice (or bond market volatility, whichever floats your boat).

Play along at your own blog, too.  Post your dilemma(s), and let your readers weigh in.  Then put your link below, using the guidelines.

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136 thoughts on “Works For Me: BACKWARDS Edition

  1. Amber (BGH) says:

    LOL! Hubs is funny! 😉
    Sorry I don’t have any help for your whites question. Our water has so much iron in it that they end up hopelessly yellow. Our solution? Buy new socks. 🙂

  2. Heather B says:

    Get yourself some Oxy Clean. This stuff actually performs miracles! You won’t regret it. Just follow the instructions as indicated on the package for the size load you will be doing, and feel free to double up on the recommended scoops! They will get whiter faster.

  3. Amy @ MomsToolbox says:

    Does it take awhile for the water to come out hot from your faucet? If so, your washer might be using cold water rather than hot, as well. (You are washing whites in hot, right?) Run the water near the washer for a bit until it gets hot and then start the washer so you get the super hot water. Hope that helps.

  4. Kimberly/Mom in the City says:

    I’ve read this (environmentally-friendly)tip from various sources (including Martha Stewart Living magazine)…
    You can whiten linens, napkins, socks, etc. on the stove by filling a pot with water, add a few slices of lemon and bringing to a boil. After turning off the heat, put you whites in the pot and let them soak for about an hour. Afterwards, you can wash the whites like normal but for extra-brightening, you should hang them out in the sunlight to dry.
    (Personally, that’s too much work for me, so I just replace my kids white socks seasonally and use the dingy socks for crafts, etc.)
    On another note, my Works-For-Me Wednesday dilemma involves managing my preschool commute (which starts this Thursday!) for my oldest son.

  5. Kim says:

    Okay, I TOTALLY fell for it! You got me!
    If bleach doesn’t work on the socks, I’d give Oxi-Clean a try…. I recently started using it instead of liquid color safe bleach with each load of laundry and it works great!

  6. Emily @ Little Home says:

    My husband started requesting black athletic socks! Then I realized that men’s black ankle socks (so short so you can’t see them) are in style with running shoes and such. This is the kind that he meant, thank goodness 🙂 Having dark socks helps me think they are cleaner at least!

  7. Dawn says:

    I so did not get that!!!
    I’m glad no one else did either!
    Ok so I don’t have …sock problems that a little ole’toss em and buy new ones don’t solve!
    I kid I kid…seriously we have hard water and it seems the “Arm and Hammer” soap is doing the trick!
    Try it?! It’s what works for me!
    Love this title btw!

  8. rachel says:

    Move further south and ban all sock wearing for at least 9 months of the year. Make exceptions for kids playing soccer and hubby who needs to maintain an appropriate dresscode at work. Crocs, sandals, and flipflops are your friend.

  9. Runningamuck says:

    I have no idea. I always use a little bleach in the whites when I wash and I think it does the trick. But my boys are younger than yours so I don’t think I’ve hit the same level of sock abuse as you are currently experiencing. But maybe if you buy a new batch and use bleach each and everytime you wash them? You’ve probably already tried that but that’s all I got. Sorry. =0)
    I’ll be watching for what ends up working for you so that I can “file” that information and bring it out in a couple years. For my sock-sanity sake.

  10. Rebecca (Green Baby Guide) says:

    I agree with the other commenters who recommend not buying white socks. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pair and I don’t feel like I’ve suffered in any way. In fact, I’d venture to say that my life is better without white socks weighing me down with their dingy ways.

  11. Daiquiri says:

    Oh! You totally had me! I was thinking, “Dang, Shannon’s uppin’ her game here!”
    Socks? Socks I can do 🙂
    I swear by Oxi Clean. I use the powder stuff, and I add it to every load. I never knew my stuff had such color (or in the case of white socks, no color). If I have a particulary stubborn stain (or dingy batch of socks), I’ll soak it in the tub or sink with some warm water and a healthy helping of OC. I haven’t been disappointed yet (even got permenant marker off a shirt!)
    Good luck!

  12. Tiffanie says:

    I use Borax. It’s a pretty green product and you can soak clothes in it and throw it in the wash with your regular detergent too. Doesn’t ruin fabric like bleach, at least not that I’ve noticed. It’s been keeping my cloth diapers pretty white, so would probably work on socks too. Here’s a little tip though… If the stains aren’t completely out after a wash, soak em again before drying. Once you dry… there’s no hope.

  13. Maria says:

    Try using vinegar instead of your fabric softener. Sometimes the chemicals leave a residue behind that the vinegar can get out. Your clothes won’t have a vinegar smell and the towels are super absorbent!

  14. Heidi says:

    As others have said, OxyClean is your best friend. It works best if you soak things in it for a day or so before washing them. The formula I use is 1 tsp. OxyClean to 1/4 cup water. It even gets out dried blood!
    And who knows, maybe the OxyClean would help with your bond problem too. I’m not so good at the financial stuff myself. (And it’s not just a question of brains. I can do calculus in my head, but accounting makes my eyes cross.)

  15. Becky says:

    I have become something of a laundry-sorting freak. I only wash whites with other white things. No prints, no stripes, no trim, no nothing. Every now and then I’ll add bleach to the load, but not every time. That seems to do it.

  16. Cheri says:

    I’ve used the following Amway/Quixtar products for years and years. My socks are always white. No, I’m not trying to sell you anything – lol. Second to the laundry products, the next most important thing is to never wash your socks with anything other than white clothes. Never, ever, not even on cold.
    Here are the products I use:
    SA-8 powdered laundry detergent
    All Fabric Bleach
    I’ve also found that if you use Oxi-Clean for too long your clothes end up kind of crisp.

  17. Sally says:

    As long as you don’t have hard water, the problem with whites getting gray is that you are washing all of your clothes together. You need to keep whites separate.

  18. Kristin says:

    I only own white socks. I have 12 pair of the exact same kind of sock LOL I use Clorox splashless bleach. They aren’t really white on the bottoms of the sock, but the tops stay white. I wash my whites with only whites.
    I love Oxyclean – it gets out stuff I’d never imagine would come out. I don’t use it unless its an emergency though, as I always tend to breathe in an oxyclean cloud and I hate that!

  19. alexsandra says:

    soak socks in this overnight:
    Tide with Bleach Alternative + Dishwasher Soap (liquid or powder)+ regular bleach = whiter than white socks.
    but don’t use the regular bleach too often or else you will be buying new socks!
    I used to use the Amway Smashing White but it was discontinued. I loved that stuff.

  20. amy says:

    If adding Oxy Clean to your wash doesn’t work try this tip that works GREAT on cloth diapers.
    In a large bucket, dissolve 1 cup Oxy Clean in 2-3 gallons of hot water (or better, use liquid Oxy Clean if you can find it). Once the water has cooled somewhat put your dirty whites in the bucket and put the bucket on your kitchen counter.
    As the day goes by give the pot a stir every time you walk past it (about every 30-60 minutes). At the end of the day throw the entire thing in the washing machine, you don’t even have to drain it, and wash with normal detergent.
    Good luck!

  21. Ann Voskamp (Holy Experience) says:

    You married up, Shannon–good for you. ~grin~ Brilliant question by Hubs. I was laughing out loud by the end of the post. ~smile~
    Okay. I think, thanks to the plethora of wisdom nuggets from your so-informed readers, I can now stock an arsenal to wage war with the scourge of dinge and emancipate our dismal socks.
    But, (not to belittle the state of the socks), the critical question remains: Will you post the answer to Hubs’ question? I’m intrrgued by that negative convexity. ~smile~
    All’s grace,

  22. Llama Momma says:

    Okay, you had me glazed over for a few minutes. Until you started talking about the socks. (No idea how to fix it, by the way, but — SOCKS! I know EXACTLY WHAT THOSE ARE!)
    I love backwards edition. Thanks for all your work hosting this, Shannon! You ROCK!

  23. SheilaG says:

    I’m with everyone else. I LOVE Oxy-Clean. It works great on those once-a-month stains that your teenage daughters get because they’re not used to cleaning you know what properly, if you know what I mean!
    Sorry about the lack of a backwards posting. I posted first before I came over here! Maybe I’ll do a backwards one next week.
    This week it’s how to start your young teen on a clothing allowance, so it’s a recipe to get rid of tons of headaches! Trust me…
    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  24. fern says:

    I also had this problem–especially with a son who loved to walk outside in just his socks. My solution–I bought him gray socks. For the past 16 years he has only wore grey tube or crew socks. They sell them at K-mart or Wal-mart. Now they also make black one! Life is grand!

  25. Jolanthe says:

    I would swear by Oxi Clean. I don’t even use bleach anymore since after once or twice our stuff turns a weirdie color using it.
    We use cloth diapers too and I soak those in a mop bucket of Oxi Clean and then just dump it in the wash. I have friends that just let the sun naturally bleach things by laying them out. Me? Not so patient…nevermind my kids would be running around the backyard with whatever I was laying out on their heads or something. 🙂

  26. Cathy says:

    Hmmm…are you washing them on hot? We always wash whites on hot and haven’t had trouble, except occasionally when one of the kids ran around in theirs and got them extra dirty. Soaking with Oxy Clean (or the Dollar General equiv) usually gets those clean as well.

  27. Andrea says:

    I use Biz in every load of laundry I do, but I use a little bit more in my whites. It comes in liquid or powder. I can’t find it at Wal-Mart (recent development) but I get it at the grocery store.
    I also use the Clorox special care bleach that is safe for colors, but I only do this every other week.

  28. Jendeis says:

    I think it’s either taking a major capital loss by selling right now, or sitting tight and hoping that the markets turn around soon. The fourth quarter looks to be one of “hunkering down,” so I think first quarter ’09 will be a growth quarter and the financial risks should not be as much for selling at that point.

  29. Heather L. says:

    I don’t know if someone has suggested this, but at the store, look near the RIT dye. They have two products for this. One is called Color Remover and the other is White Wash. I highly recommend them.
    You could also try old-fashioned bluing; follow the directions on the package. Every once in a while, I do a second rinse on my whites with 4 oz. of bleach added. They come out fabulous!
    Thanks for hosting this each week!

  30. Melanie says:

    Try a scoop of oxyclean with each laundry load. Before I put the clothes in, I put in the detergent and oxyclean and let it mix in with the water a little bit. It has worked for me with greasy stains, too. Good luck!

  31. Heather says:

    Pardon me if this ends up being a repeat comment–but I found a great solution here on WFMW back in the summer.
    Wash the sock load first, in WARM water, 3/4 of what you’d normally use in detergent and Oxi-clean (or a close cousin). THEN, as soon as those are done, start washer again using HOT water, 1/4 of detergent and 3/4 bleach.
    I never had a problem with graying much, but it sooo helped with the dirt from people not listening and walking on deck/garage/sidewalk in only stocking feet. If someone can fix that, then I’ll market it and we’ll all be rich!

  32. mich says:

    my mother told me recently that adding white vinegar to the rinse cycle of a load of whites really does the trick.
    i have yet to try this as the rinse cycle is an elusive creature to me – i seem to always just miss it. good luck!

  33. Renee says:

    Run your whites by themselves and dump some vinegar and baking soda in there with your soap. That should do the trick.
    Financially, I would say GO ASK DAVE RAMSEY! (or at least visit He would tell you to pay off your debts and spread your investments across mutual funds that vary in risk. At least, I think that is what he would say…your hubs uses words that are too big for me to understand 😉

  34. Taryn says:

    Maybe you’re already doing this. I don’t know. I’m new to this homemaking thing.
    Be sure to wash whites ONLY with other whites. Everything in the whites load must be fully white. No red flowers, so grey anything. Just white.
    That works for me!

  35. Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom says:

    I’m part of the oxi-clean camp. I have hard water, so we soak ours first in not quite boiling water for a few hours, it helps…and I buy my oxi clean at Sams club, much cheaper that way!
    Now I’m going to be noodling on hubs’ question all day! 😉

  36. Rachel says:

    Wow, I actually started to get a little excited when I saw the first question (former investment rep here)!
    As for the socks, I have no clue. My hubby now wears only black because I got tired of dealing with dingy white.

  37. Carla says:

    Ditto on the oxi-clean. That stuff works wonders. And the spray is GREAT for stains. I have HONESTLY sprayed it on the stain, walked away and come back an hour or so later and the stain is GONE. Seriously. Gone. I use a scoop of the powder in EVERY load of laundry I do, and a double scoop in whites and towels, just for added “oomph”.
    I just discovered your blog, so I haven’t done a WFMW yet, but I’ll try to start next week – I’m in the middle of moving and just don’t have time to work up a WFMW post today! 🙂 But I love the idea and I WILL do one starting next week…love your blog btw!

  38. Phebe says:

    Shannon, you are so far ahead of me in the laundry dept. ! I am still trying to come up with a better way to get out that sour smell from towels…
    Personally, I just figure that people are not inspecting my kids socks too closely. 🙂 They NEVER wear them indoors. They take them off the minute they walk in the door. IT’s weird… As soon as socks are hopelessly stained or have holes, they are sent to the dust-rag-or-dirty-job pile–they’re very handy for that…
    Advice on sour towels anyone? Bleach or vinegar? Wouldn’t the bleach remove the color? Vinegar sometimes does the job and sometimes not…

  39. Sweet Sunshine Boutique says:

    Hi Shannon! LOVE your blog & I follow you on Twitter! I have responded to you awesome Rep. comments! LOVE THEM ALL!!! I clicked the link you put on Twitter for BlogHer, will they be live blogging again tonight? Would love to chat with you via Twitter, but am not sure I am being followed? I am kind of new to it still, but have loved your insight on the election!!

  40. Lisa says:

    I have nothing of value to offer on the laundry situation, I’m in the same boat, but it looks like I should go buy some Oxy-Clean!
    (I am working on getting my post linked correctly, I am having trouble today for some reason. Thank you for your patience)

  41. SH says:

    My method of keeping socks white is two fold: Use VERY HOT water and use bleach EVERY TIME (or almost every time) you wash whites. Yes they wear out faster, but it’s a choice between them wearing out a bit faster and looking decent. By the way – Personally, if the bottoms of socks are gray, I don’t care – most people aren’t going to be looking at the bottoms anyway! (they’ll be covered by shoes!

  42. Chel - An Abiding Branch says:

    Since I sell insurance for a living you had me going!! going going going gone that is, I do not mess with the financial industry only medical, life, dental, you know things that CAN make you smile :-)!!! Seriously, my dilemma is whether to buy dri-fit undies or not!! Seriously!

  43. ET @ Titus2:3-5 says:

    To get my whites gleaming bright, I stick to a few hard and fast rules of Mom’s…
    #1 – use only Javex bleach.
    #2 – use a full cup of bleach for a load of laundry.
    #3 – use a HOT water wash.
    Oh, I almost forgot the cardinal rule!
    #4 (it should really be #1) – always, always, always pre-treat stains with Fantastik. Yes, even sock dinge.
    It’s a lot of work, but not as much as the Martha Stewart method. And I tell ya, Mom’s whites are gleamin’!

  44. Luke Holzmann says:

    First question: Get a really good financial adviser. The downside: It costs a lot. Just make sure he earns his keep with your money.
    Second question: We just wash our socks in cold water with Costco detergent. Our socks are still white.

  45. KimC says:

    I’m all ears on this one, too. I’m right there with the commenter who said to live down south and ban socks for 9 months of the year. Works For Me.

  46. Melody says:

    Tide with bleach alternative (or Bravo with bleach alternative if you live near an HEB) and 1/4 cup of Baking Soda. Although I do buy my boy’s socks that have white uppers and grey bottoms…that might make a difference! I also used to have great success with Biz bleach, but don’t know if you can still find it in this century!
    This sooo sounds like a question for Barb!

  47. Diana says:

    Sounds like Oxi Clean is the way to go. One thought I have about bleach, though. So many sock aren’t 100% cotton anymore and if there is ANY synthetic in the socks the bleach can actually cause them to yellow or get dingy looking. So yeah, try the Oxi Clean!

  48. Richelle says:

    Wash with vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda… and dry out in the sun. I can’t get borax, oxyclean and the bleach here is unpredictable in strength – sometimes weak, other times so strong it burns holes in things… so I stick with the natural stuff. Seems to work most of the time; for socks with stubborn stains, I’ll fill the machine with hot water and leave them soaking with one of the above mentioned overnight.

  49. Robyn says:

    I’m not sure if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but there is a product called Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing. It’s in a blue bottle and you can find it in the laundry section at the store. It has an old fashioned picture of a lady with a sour look on her face. It works great! Other uses include: whitening your white dog’s fur, and making a salt crystal garden! It’s non-toxic and bio-degradable.

  50. Whitney @ Baby Tunnel Exodus says:

    Oh Miss Shannon. I was all …um… I know I’ve been immersed in mommyhood… but did I EVER know the answer? And, seriously… is this written in English?! I was so relieved to see your Socks question, lol!
    We never allow shoes worn in the house so that cuts down quite a bit on how dirty socks get. Try a scoop of Oxyclean in with your wash, and (against all things Eco-Mom) wash them in hot water. It really does clean better. Also are you having a bleed over from other clothes making them dingy? Shout makes a sheet you can toss in your watch that catches the bleed out; you just throw it away when you switch the laundry to the dryer. Love them.
    Great blog, have a blessed day!

  51. Molly B says:

    Thought I might be alone in it, but OxyClean truly is the greatest thing. I dump a cup in with the boys’ clothes and the sox stay white.
    It’s also helped when my husband washed a dark red shirt with all his whites (and I’m too questioning about what he’s doing out there by the washer?)
    It also depends on the sock, what they’re made of. Cheaper ones get grungy quicker, but oh, the pricey ones look great for a long time.
    : )

  52. Janelle says:

    The bond market has got to pick up sometime soon. I’d just take a wait and see approach.
    Socks? I make sure to buy the ones that are grey on the bottom and use oxi clean most washings, about every 3 weeks or so I bleach the suckers.

  53. LeeAnn (AKA Frazzmom) says:

    Wow! Who knew that there was such a wealth of information out there about socks? My solution was to switch to the Auro EZ Match socks by Gold Toe. I tossed all our old socks and went to Target and bought new ones. I just bought each kid multiple packs of the same sock to make matching easier. The stripes on the toes make it easy for me to see who they belong to. And they’re already grey on the bottom! Check it out at

  54. Aunt LoLo says:

    It looks like everyone already beat me to the punch – OxyClean! I even soaked my OWN Christening dress in OxyClean before I washed it for my daughter to wear, and it came out BEAUTIFULLY. (Yes, it was 25 years old at that point – OxyClean is VERY gentle.)
    When BBJ was a baby, I kept a bucket of water and OxyClean all mixed up and waiting in the laundry room. As she soiled her clothes (what newborn doesn’t?!) I’d just chuck them in. No stains! Even chocolate stains that had already gone through the dryer. (Those were my stains, not hers. :-))

  55. Nessa says:

    Try about a half of cup of baking soda in the wash. I also use vinegar, in place of liquid fabric softener, and it really helps with the whites. Hope that helps!

  56. Diana says:

    I too love oxi clean. I have even used it to get stains out of stored more than a year baby clothes.
    Soak overnight for particularly tough stains

  57. Leslie says:

    I’m new to WFMW, but am so happy to be participating for the first time!
    I wish I had a great solution for this!!! I have tried Oxi-clean and have been somewhat happy with the results…but there are just times when it doesn’t seem to do the magic. I just buy inexpensive white socks and do my best with them, but when the time comes…they get turned inside out and turn into little dusting mitts for little hands! New socks come out of the package and into the sock drawer. 🙂

  58. Lainie says:

    I haven’t read through all comments so please pardon if this is a repeat.
    I was having the same problem. Not with socks but with hubby’s lab coats. I went to the uniform shop and found out an interesting thing…
    Nowadays, our white clothes are dyed white! Manufacturer’s use a very light, light gray to make a “white” dye. When I use bleach (’cause I’m a bleach FREAK) I am stripping off the dye. The gal’s suggestion is laundering white clothes the way I would colors and using only color safe, mild detergents. I bought their fancy one but have since run out.
    I have stopped bleaching hubby’s coats and they have remained sparkly white.
    Apparently the old saying is true, “Less is more.”

  59. CatGranny says:

    If Oxi Clean doesn’t work, you may have minerals in your water, which will cause the dingy effect for all of your laundry. To get rid of the minerals you need to get a water softener. There are several types on the market today, depending on your budget. We have the one where you add salt in a barrel and the water goes thru it.

  60. Jenny says:

    Hubs is a funny guy.
    So many people are talking about Oxy-Clean that I think I’ll have to try it out myself!
    My question today is about sibling squabbles. Surely some of your readers have some great advice for me!
    Thanks for hosting, Shannon!

  61. Carrie says:

    That’s a dilemma I face as well! Well, my biggest sock dilemma is getting PAIRS of socks from washer to dryer to dresser drawers. Where do those missing socks go?!!?
    Anyway, I was also going to suggest OxyClean or adding baking soda to the wash.
    Good luck and fingers crossed for whiter socks!

  62. Shelby says:

    I have the best way…. 1 cup bleach, 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent (i know weird) but it works. Add these to your washing machine, fill with water, mix a little to dissolve. Add WHITE clothes (undies, socks etc) Soak for approx 20 minutes but no more than 35 or so. Continue cycle then wash again regular. The whitest whites you have ever seen. Don’t let them soak too long as you will end up with holey clothes. HTH.

  63. Momof4 says:

    I saw that someone suggested OxiClean, and that does work well on a lot of things. You can also presoak in Borax, or just add it to the water before the clothes. Short of that, I suggest flip-flops. That’s what we do during most of the year. Great site!

  64. Jesse says:

    I also say to try the Oxi clean. Seriously. Now, don’t anyone freak, but I used it to soak my mother’s wedding dress for my wedding (it was ivory, had darkened – bad packaging)…and believe it or not, it came out looking EXACTLY like when she’d gotten it. She had been disappointed, and she was so shocked that I got it back to the original color that she MADE me tell her how I did it (I was afraid to! *grin* ), and since then, she uses Oxiclean to get my dad’s whites (he works on the railroad) back to perfect white. Works every time!

  65. Jenn says:

    This might be a repeat as there’s no way I have time to scan all the comments to see if someone else posted the same idea.
    I recently tried a stain recipe out of the Tightwad Gazette when even Oxi-Clean didn’t help and it worked great. My husband’s very nasty yardwork socks came out white and beautiful and some baby clothes with “hopeless” food and diaper related stains look new again.
    Mix 1 cup color safe bleach and 1 cup powdered Cascade dishwashing detergent with 5 gallons of the hottest water that comes out of your tap. Soak several hours or overnight and wash as usual.

  66. Amy says:

    I just recently switched all of my cleaning supplies. My whites have never been brighter and there are NO CHEMICALS in these products. I even had a onesie from my baby that had gotten stained up the back (if ya know what I mean!!) and I sprayed it with my chemical-free spot remover and washed it in my non-chlorine colorsafe whitener/brightener and it came out looking BRAND NEW!! If you would like more info on this, please feel free to email me. I would love to share it with you.

  67. Amy says:

    I think the real problem with your socks is that they are probably a poly-cotton blend. Polyester won’t respond to bleach (or oxy-clean, for that matter). My advice: as you replace socks, buy 100 percent cotton.

  68. Lynette says:

    This happened to my MIL several years ago but all of her whites started to turn a little grayish. It turned out that she had been using too much Downey and it had built up a lovely gunk on the inside of the tub part of the machine. The repairman had to take it apart and take it to the car wash to clean it.
    Good luck!

  69. Laney says:

    As for the socks, I just cover them up with my shoes so no one can see the dirt. And when they’ve worn down to nothing but the elastic above my ankle, I throw them out and buy new.
    On the investment portfolio, I say hold it and buy more if you can. Most collateral items have gone down in value in the past few months. But I predict a strong rebound in early 2009. So sit tight. 😉

  70. Bekah says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t see this elsewhere in the comments- Bluing once every couple of months works like a charm.
    I use Mrs. Stewarts personally, but that’s because it’s what the grocery had handy when I finally broke down and bought it.
    I seperate out all of the whites, follow the directions on the bottle and bingo. I had a pair of shirts that were a light cream and a light pink- after a year of washing I couldn’t tell them apart- not to mention all the grey underwear and socks. I figured bluing couldn’t make them any worse- they came out beautiful and distinctly pink and cream- and all the whites came out much brighter.
    Highly recommend! it’s an old fashioned kind of remedy =)

  71. michelle says:

    My no-fail solution (besides buy new socks)? Wash a load of only socks. Use as much Tide & water as you would for a full load of jeans or towels or whatever. Socks actually come clean with this method in our house. And we have nasty farm-dirt, little boy-dirt in our house!

  72. Martha Huff says:

    Aspirin…I got this tip at work, tried it,and it ROCKS!!!
    Start wash with hot water, drop two aspirin the basin. Add bleach as usual. Cheap, off brand aspirin works FABULOUSLY!
    I did this the other night with our dishtowels. I let them soak for about 15 mins before I let the wash cycle start…they came out white as new!
    Love you!

  73. Monica says:

    If your whites are completely white, then you can use Blueing. It is the MOST AMAZING product. Nurses used to use it back in the day, before they wore scrubs. You can find it in the Laundry aisle. It’s usually with the stain treatment items.
    Follow the package directions about diluting it in water before adding it to the wash.
    I promise you the grey will be gone, gone, gone.
    Oh, and if you get any info on the hedge fund, post it will you???

  74. Tina in Thailand says:

    Sorry if someone has already suggested this, there are too many comments already to check! 🙂
    Fels-Naptha soap (the yellow kind) is a wonderworker.
    While we were in missionary training, we used it during our time at ‘jungle camp’. I was shocked to see how clean it got our socks after there were so grimy and nasty from the mud and muck. They were cleaner than we we arrived at camp! Of course they were also two feet long from being washed by hand and then run through a wringer. 🙂 Oh well, can’t have everything, right?
    Anyways, the only place I have found the soap is at a Cenex style feed and farm supply store, or of course online. The bars are quite inexpensive, and the soap is a hard soap so it lasts a long time. Just rub a bit of on the stain or trouble area or use a toothbrush to get it in good, and throw it in the wash.

  75. Sherry says:

    I’ve hit the same problem & here’s my solution…
    I do only whites together with super hot water & use Tide (powder) adding the bleach (chlorox) after 5 mnis of washing. The other options is to put your clothes in on the soak/pre-treat cycle of your washer using only detergent, then wash them using detergent & bleach. I also use borox & oxyclean as needed, depending on the stains, color, etc…
    I wear “peds” & Crocs @ work (am a RN) & find the color of the Crocs comes off on my white “peds”. So, I have resorted to ALL of the above to get the color stain out & it has worked.

  76. Lise says:

    To whiten the socks – I use Borax in my wash. It is in the box with the mules on it – called 20 mule team Borax (or something like that) it is on the laundry soap aisle – usually on the top shelf. It helps your laundry soap out and BOOSTS it’s power.
    I use it every time I wash whites and they NEVER get dull.

  77. Alison says:

    How about old-fashioned bluing? It’s that little blue bottle on the top shelf in the laundry aisle. That stuff rules for whites! Why blue? Who knows. It works.

  78. Laura says:

    I know the answer to this because it happened to me! All of my whites ended up gray and I found out it’s because of hard water. Bleach used with hard water makes whites gray. If you have hard water, don’t use the bleach. Use Oxy Clean. It works. The stuff you have that’s already gray might not turn white again. There is a product put out by Rit that turns your whites back to white. Otherwise, buy new socks and throw away the bleach.

  79. Polka Dot Mommy says:

    Since you do use bleach and therefore, are not afraid of a little chemical assistance, I would recommend an overnight soak in a washer filled with water, 2 scoops of oxy-clean and 2 oz of liquid detergent. If you use powder detergent be sure to dissolve fully before adding clothes (same with oxy clean).
    For a natural option- mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 2 oz all natural liquid laundry soap (or castile liquid soap) and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide. Add clothes and soak overnight. Wash as normal. If clothing has gone through the dryer it will be difficult to get them white again, but this works great to keep them white!

  80. SarahMay says:

    Our whites don’t turn grey, they turn ecru. Off-white. Somewhere between beige and yellow. And I use bleach! (I tried OxyClean, too, and it didn’t make ANY difference.)I thought I was just a bad housewife until my mother-in-law (a saint!) pointed out that it was from iron and rust in our water.
    So now every once in awhile I use a product call Iron-Out. Follow the package directions, because otherwise it doesn’t work correctly! You’ll have to run the load twice–once with Iron-Out, and once with your regular detergent. But the difference is dramatically beautiful!

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